Katya, an exchange student in 2006, poses with all of her parents!

Our Love for the Students

For the last 20 years, my husband and I have hosted 44 children from around the world, and we have become family to almost all of the children and their families. People ask us all the time, “Why do you host?”

Here is the answer: we were blessed to have four child of our own and love being parents. Our family is large with lots of laughter and love. We did not start this journey like most people. In 1998, our son all but signed us up to host a student without asking his father or me.

We hosted our first student, and then by mid-year, we welcomed a second student to our home. From that point on, we always had two students and even hosted in a summer program. We learned so much from these children. When we began, we thought that we were doing them a favor but quickly learned that they were doing us a favor by teaching us about countries we might not be able to visit. These students were bringing their countries to us, one at a time (or two in our case, I suppose).

We have hosted many children and have spent so much time with them that they really have become family. We hosted a FLEX student in 2006. She came to visit a few years after her program and fell in love with a young man during the visit. Last week, we attended her wedding. We thought we were going as guests; however, we were introduced as her parents—not only by her but by her natural, Russian parents as well. How honored we were to be given such an amazing title! On the wall, the parents of the couple were proudly displayed; we were surprised to see our photos alongside them.

So, to answer the question of why we host, it is simple: LOVE. When I talk to people about hosting, I share our experience. They see the sparkle in our eyes and feel the love we have for these children. My family lives what we ask others to do and truly are a million times blessed to have opened

—June Miller, PAX Field Development Director (OK)